The Season of “No”

Spring is here.

Sure, if you own a calendar, you might try to disagree with me, but here in the world of California Community College Baseball, today was the official opening day, and yesterday was our first game.

This season is different for me. I haven’t experienced spring season while working full time since 2014, and I haven’t experienced spring season while working full time and raising a little one ever. It’s a whole new juggling act to be a full-time teacher, a toddler’s mom, AND a coach’s wife. I was spoiled in our last three seasons to have designed my work schedule to fit around our baseball schedule. Since 2014, I have only missed games that I have chosen to miss because they were farther than I wanted to drive. (FYI, my limit was about 2.5 hours unless it was a night game or would involve rush-hour traffic in L.A. I figured one-way travel time should not exceed the time spent enjoying the game.) This typically meant I would miss about a quarter of the games, and usually only the ones before conference play started. For the first time in four years, I’m going to be missing more than two-thirds of the season, which is even significantly more than I missed in 2014 when I was last working full-time because most of our games were played on the weekends then.

So, I’m finding myself saying “no” to a lot of things—great things!—and it’s bringing on the guilt. I’d love to be able to do it all. But I’ve learned that a coach’s wife’s most important job is to fiercely guard what precious little family time there is left in the midst of a busy season.

So, if you want to invite me to do something between now and May, I am probably going to decline because:

  1. There is a baseball game, and I will be at it.
  2. My husband has a tiny bit of time off, and we will be spending it as a family.

Don’t get me wrong. I would love to get together for lunch or dinner. I would really like to be at your thing. And I really do appreciate being invited to all the things and knowing that you want me around despite the fact that I just cannot prioritize anything else right now.

Yes, I feel guilty that I have to say “no” to so many things. But, you know what? It’s worth it. It really is. Because I know I would feel so much guiltier if I missed the rare opportunity to support my husband’s team or the even rarer opportunity to actually be with my husband.

So, to my fellow coaches’ wives: feel free to embrace saying “no” in your seasons, and don’t feel guilty about it.

I think it’s safe to say that the pressure to say “yes” in our culture is kind of a problem. In fact, I distinctly remember sitting in my teacher-preparation program and being told that if I wanted to get a good job, be appreciated in my school, and be respected by my students, I literally had to say “yes” to everything. (My memory might be exaggerated, but it was something along those lines.) I could go on with all the things we’re expected to say “yes” to in our daily lives, but all that would be beside the point. The fact is that there are so many good and worthwhile things that we should be doing. So many things we would love to be doing.

BUT.

We need to consider our seasons and what we can realistically manage while protecting our family time. There is nothing wrong with cherishing a guilt-free season of “no”—even if other people don’t understand.

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